An excellent clarification of “atheism” “faith” and “belief“.
This post is an elaboration of #4 from a list of things I’ve learned late in life.
When I was young, I believed to a great degree that truth would feel “truthful”. The underlying assumption I failed to recognize is the assumption that my mind was well-equipped without training to intuit truth accurately. I was certain god existed, because the concept was constantly being confirmed by this illegitimate intuition I had that god must exist, and the subsequent emotion of confidence in the mechanism of that intuition. Why would the concept of a personal god come to my mind if it were not real, and why would it feel so correct? I completely neglected to assess the reliability of my mind to assess claims. I simply assumed it was, by default, calibrated to process claims as they arrived.
Due to this erroneous assumption, Continue reading
What is skepticism? And what value does it have? Isn’t it just something that grumpy old men do to make the world cloudy for the rest of us?
Remember that first coloring book you had? The boring black and white outlines on the pages would stare at you expressionlessly, so you would take the crayons you hadn’t yet eaten and scribble in wild abandon inside and outside the lines in an uninhibited expression of creativity…or at least I did.
I have a theory. Those with rich fantasy lives tend to be less religious.
Here in Japan, comic books (manga) and cartoons (anime) are a staple of a very literate public with almost 2 billion manga books and magazines sold in Japan in 1995. At the same time, the percentage of Japanese atheists and agnostics is at a very high 65%.
I’d like to suggest that the mundane reality of the average Japanese life is alleviated by an escape into fantasy. At the same time, Japaneses are in no way confused about which world is real and which is fiction. The escapism is a conscious choice that is activated in a discrete part of their minds, and is not at any time entangled and confused with their material realities. This notion was substantiated by several of my Japanese friends who marveled that Americans so easily fall prey to claims of miracles and notions of god. A lonely missionary I meet regularly in Tokyo’s Yoyogi park as he attempts to evangelize Japanese “sinners” admits the fact that Japanese very quickly dismiss the miraculous claims of the bible.
Americans, however, are much more inclined to combine the elements of myth and reality. Continue reading
Theism begins with a commitment to absurdity. It revels in mysteries, embraces paradoxes, and wallows in warm credulity while reason is buried in a mudslide of illogical affirmations. It sees no need to apologize for belief where the evidence is not only absent, but also contrary to claims.
Theism trains the credulous in the art of illogicality by unabashedly positing incoherent notions of god that require the complete surrender of rational faculties. Some such common theistic notions among Christians are listed below.
Don’t pretend to be a truth seeker if you begin your quest with any of the following assumptions.
Sorry. No illegitimate short-cuts.
Sam Harris explains why granting respect to beliefs for no reason other than that they are believed is absurd. The video poster calls this “stupidity”, a tern I would not use, but perhaps “self-delusional” is appropriate.